Palestinian independence on second life?

The following is a transcript of a conservation that took place this morning in Jerusalem

IDF Chief of Staff: Sir, we have a situation that requires you’re immediate attention. They’ve done it sir.

PM Netanyahu: Who?

IDF Chief of Staff: The Palestinians Sir. They have established the State of Palestine.

PM Netanyahu: What?! Bogy, is this true?

Minister of Defense: I’m afraid so. We found out only a few minutes ago.

PM Netanyahu: Where did they announce?

IDF Chief of Staff: On their twitter channel Sir. The bastards have declared a sovereign land based on the 67 borders.  As this satellite image shows Abu Mazen declared independence on Second Life some twelve minutes ago.

PM Netanyahu: Second Life? What are you talking about?

Director of Mossad: It’s a digital platform Prime Minsiter, a virtual world where people can experience reality as mediated through their computer.

PM Netanyahu: You are worried about the Palestinians declaring independence on this ridiculous virtual world thingee? Are you joking?

Director of Mossad: Prime Minister, in the 21 Century declaring independence on cyberspace is the same as declaring independence in the physical world. The online world is not separate from the offline world. It’s an extension of it. The most popular kid in the classroom is also the most popular kid on facebook. Things that start on cyberspace infiltrate our physical space. Just look at Justin Bieber who went from YouTube phenomenon to a mega star.

PM Netanyahu: God I love the Bieber.

IDF Chief of Staff: We think this issue must be addressed with utmost urgency Sir. In the world of digital diplomacy the Palestinians may be able to gain recognition from all other countries on Second Life.

PM Netanyahu: What does the Shin Bet think?

Shin Bet Director: We are mostly concerned with the response from the hawkish right wing. We have been monitoring several sleeper cells on Second Life and believe they may try to attack virtual Palestinian cities. Some may even attempt to blow up the Dome of the Rock.

Minister of Defense: The Dome of the Rock? That could lead to a full out cyber war!

PM Netanyahu: Options?

IDF Chief of Staff: The general staff and I agree Sir. We need a full scale military strike.

PM Netanyahu: Military strike? Won’t that hurt us? Besides, what are the soldiers going to strike for? Higher wages? The right to set up a union? I won’t have socialist propaganda in my military!

IDF Chief of Staff: No Sir we mean an attack against the cyber Palestinian State. We need to make it clear that no such entity will be established outside the deliberation rooms.

PM Netanyahu: Hold on just a second. Why don’t we first get in touch with the UN and see if we can assess the scope of this cyber state?

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Our analysis at the Ministry is that the UN website is even less effective than the actual UN.

PM Netanyahu: Well no surprises there.

IDF Chief of Staff: Sir, we just got word that Abu Mazen’s avatar is headed to a meeting in the US embassy located near Second Life’s Tel Aviv. This could be an opportunity to blow that avatar out of the sky. We have five virtual F-16 fuelling at Hatzrim air base.

PM Netanyahu: Bogy, when this is all over I want an avatar too. With wings.

Minister of Defense: Of course Prime Minister.

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Vice President Biden just tweeted that he saw the declaration and welcomes Palestine to the league of virtual nations. Mr. Prime Minister the tweet-osphere is exploding with positive messages. We have to regain control of the situation.

PM Netanyahu: Right, how many virtual soldiers can we enlist?

IDF Chief of Staff: If we start now we can have two battalions ready in an hour.

PM Netanyahu: Good, assemble them along the West Bank. No one gets in or out. Bogy, get on the phone to the housing minister tell him to start massive construction of virtual settlements in the E1 corridor. We’re going to block this cyber state. Then talk to Minister Bennett, tell him I need 1,000 settlers ready to move into those settlements by tonight.

Minister of Defense: Excellent sir.

Minister of Foreign Affairs: We should also be active on the social networks. Perhaps I should tweet a message at Biden and Obama stating our position.

PM Netanyahu: Biden’s a drunk. What I didn’t know until today is that it was Obama all along. Focus on him.

IDF Chief of Staff: We would also like some IDF hackers to begin attacking Palestine on Google Earth. We should be re-drawing the borders, re-naming Arab villages in Hebrew as well as securing the holy sites in Jerusalem.

PM Netanyahu: I have no idea what you just said but get on it.

Minister of Foreign Affairs: The French have just built the first foreign embassy on virtual Palestinian soil.

PM Netanyahu: Surround it with virtual troops. Say the situation is unstable and we received credible threats against their cyber diplomats.

Minister of Defense: Shelly Yachimovich just endorsed Palestine on her Facebook page.

PM Netanyahu: Get Danny Dannon or Miri Regev to shut it down. What are extremists for? Also, write on Angela Merkel’s facebook wall that we expect her to lead an E.U. ban on the Palestinian Second Life state.

Minister of Foreign Affairs: She’ll never go for it

PM Netanyahu: Ask her what’s 2 million times 3

Minister of Foreign Affairs: That’s 6 million

PM Netanyahu: Exactly!

About the Author
Dr. Ilan Manor (PhD Oxford University) is a diplomacy scholar at Tel Aviv University. Manor's recent book, The Digitalization of Diplomacy, explores how digital technologies have reshaped diplomatic practices. Manor has contributed to several publications including The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and the Jewish Daily Forward. According to his Twitter bio, Manor is the inventor of the ashtray. He blogs at